At the time of writing, Manchester United are sitting top of the league by one point.
Of course with Man City still to play later this afternoon this could change, but for now let us savour a fine United victory. We played well, created chances and although we should have scored a bucketful we managed to get the 3 points.
The trip to Loftus Road was meant to be tough, and I amongst others expect QPR to show real resistance, but beyond a few moments United were comfortable in winning.
The early goal from Rooney was always going to settle nerves, he seems back in the swing of things with neat touches and flicks and hopefully it is just the beginning of another strong spell.
Carrick getting United’s second is just the latest in a strong run from the midfielder. When he is on form he is a top talent and playing beside Jones especially seems to be bring the best out of him so Idon’t expect Sir Alex to break up that pairing any time soon.
Despite the relative ease with which we won, I will highlight that at times we gave the ball away way too easily. I hope the Sloppy short passes in the middle of the field won’t be a recurring theme as better teams will punish our mistakes.
Here are 5 observations from the game:
Evra’s drop in standards
A lot has been made of Patrice Evra’s defensive decline in the past few seasons but today it was pretty evident. Going forward Evra remains a threat but he needs to tighten up defensively as he is becoming a liability.
He tends to defend higher up the pitch so when he is beaten (something that has been happening to frequently for my liking) he will be seen chasing back.
He allowed Mackie way too much leeway coming down his flank and there was even a point where Joey Barton beat him at the touchline, leaving Rio Ferdinand to come in and clean up.
Previously it had been just tricky wingers that gave him trouble but Barton definitely isn’t in that mould.
Although frequently injured, Fabio Da Silva is snapping at his ankles and Zeki Fryers has been introduced into the team this season so there is a steady stream of players ready to step in if he is incapable of doing the job.
United wasted a number of chances at Loftus Road and this has been the story of a number of games this season.
Newcastle, Basel, Villa; the list goes on and whilst we managed to win some of these games, the Newcastle game and the Basel game amongst others will stick in the craw.
In the first half alone Evans wasted two chances from set pieces, Jones had a chance as did Valencia and Welbeck. With the score at 1-0 it gave QPR the impetus to push on and try and get level.
Today we got a second and put the game to rest and whilst QPR were unable to, better quality teams would have taken their chances at 1-0.
Rio Ferdinand come in for a lot of stick this season.
There has been talk of him being past his best and being shepherded out of the club but he has steadily improved and in these two games without Vidic has really assumed his role as a senior defender.
It has been remarked previously that Rio has somewhat of a calming influence on Jonny Evans (Liverpool in the FA Cup 3rd round last season) and in this game it was evident as Evans had one of his better games at center back for a while too.
He has shown his class with some timely interceptions and his form has definitely softened the blow of Vidic’s injury so far. Tougher challenges are to come and the threat of injury still remains but it is definitely encouraging to see him playing well.
It is said familiarity breeds contempt but in this case it also breeds decent performances.
For a number of reasons, Sir Alex Ferguson fielding unchanged teams is a rarity these days. He did it in October and last season in March but the fact I am having to single these occasions out shows it isn’t a frequent occurrence.
I don’t need to tell you the benefits of playing with a set team and hopefully as long as injuries permit we can continue to do so.
It was good to see both Berbatov and Javier Hernandez return today as both offer are top player and offer something unique to the team. The same can be said for the number of players that will be returning to fitness in drips and drabs over the next few weeks/months.
Before today we had 8 first teamers out, but that number will dwindle down and it’s just what we needs especially if we are to mount our customary second half of the season title charge.
Rafael will probably be next in line for a return and the more faces we get back, the better especially with a hectic holiday period to get through.